Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back To Normal

Lilly's leg looks normal again as of today... thank goodness.

We worked on the usual stuff today... trotting, head set, leads, and being chill. She still gets a little hyper when she's anticipating something or right after a canter. It's only when we're on the rail, though. She's a cool customer when we're maneuvering the jumps in the middle of the arena. Which is odd, I think, considering how much more work we do in the middle as opposed to the outside. It seems as though she would be worse in the middle... but what do I know?

She will calm down after being hyper, but it usually requires a small circle or a stop to settle and then she'll relax and put her head down. She also very much prefers her reins very loose. She has a beautiful headset when I have my hands nearly on the buckle, but that certainly won't work for hunt seat (and she's way too fast for western). We'll get it one of these days!

I've been a little more demanding of her lately too... I don't let her get away with as much nonsense and when she messes up I let her know. I used to just move on because too much would get her riled up, but now I'll get after her a little bit or make her stop and back up. It doesn't take much, that's for sure. We've been working on keeping her head down for longer and longer periods of time.

We ended our workout with leg steering. She's doing better there too... not that it matters, but it's fun to practice and try to steer her with no reins. I even got her to back up without needing to give a little tug on the reins. It's really fun to watch her face, though... I can always see the wheels turning in her head. And if she does it wrong and I say "nooooo" she stops dead in her tracks and the wheels start turning again. Such a good girl... always trying to please. :)

Showmanship has been coming along too. I've been practicing with her that when I turn to face her she squares up. I hope it'll become as automatic as anything else. She should be watching my body language and when I turn, she squares up. Right now she tries, but sometimes I still have to fool with her feet to get them where I want them.

T -5 days until the APHA show! :) I'm getting nervous just thinking about it!


  1. Thank goodness!! Now it better stay normal, right? lol

    It sounds like you are doing great with Lilly, she is getting better, not worse, so you know you are doing something right! Keep at it!

    And lol at the head turning thing, moms horse, Dixie, does that ALL THE TIME. She is like what you doing, are we going, are we going arewegoingNOW????

    Thats so neat she will square up when you turn to her! Too cool!

    I'm so excited to hear how yall do at the paint show! You going to have an entourage?

  2. I hope it stays normal! Although today when I went to clip her, her udder was HUGE and swollen. It does that a lot, though, so I am not going to panic just yet...

    LOL... yeah, the head thing drives me nuts, but it really is funny. I wonder what's going on inside their heads?

    No entourage for the Paint show. :( But I did luck out and found out that one of my horsey friends lives very close and she said she'd come out on Saturday and try out her new camera on us. So she'll be there to cheer us on and snap pictures of me and Lilly winning! ;) Hehehe...

  3. I missed a bunch with my vacation and busyness, sooo...

    Belated happy birthday! :D

    GOOD LUCK at the paint show! I think you guys will do great in showmanship, and depending how she acts for you in the class, pretty well in the flat classes too. Work on bending her neck at the trot and canter specifically at home--sometimes horses have trouble lowering their neck at the canter because it's so stiff.

    AJ is look fantastic for his age! :D Silly man.

    In some of the pictures, it looks like Lilly could do with some more topline! (a crisis all paints seem to have, sigh.) Work on powering through some transitions--a nice walk to an immediate nice trot, then take about five strides at the trot before asking her to come down to a walk. If the walk feels heavy at all for any reason, ask for the trot immediately to lift her up again. ;) I also do back raises with Key sometimes where I scratch right where the girth goes with my nails and they hunch their back up--then deliver them a carrot. Hehe :)

    For her leads, start asking for haunches in at the walk and trot, but make sure her head is curved to the inside. When their haunches are curled to the inside, they have to take up their weight on their outside hind--which is the leading lead for the correct lead. It's very hard for them to pick up the wrong lead, and then you can do this on straight lines. When you have her bent right, you'll find that picking up the right lead is no longer an issue. :)

    Also, LOVE the new teal outfit!! :)

    I think that's it. :P

  4. Thanks, DIJ. :)

    Hmm... more topline, you say. Do you suppose cavalettis would work too to strengthen her topline? I also wonder if now that she's doing so well with the basics, that once we start doing more "stuff" her topline will grow stronger? I've tried that tummy tickle thing a million times with her and I can't get any type of reaction unless I start scratching. Then I get the lip. :)

    I have never practiced hauches in. But after reading about it, I think Lilly knows the basic aids needed, so we should be able to try it out. I've been shifting my weight to the outside and tipping her nose in slightly, but sometimes she just gets it wrong. I can see how the haunches in would be an asset for sure. Back in the day, when I was training the boys, left leg was right lead, right leg was left lead. It was so much easier when I didn't have a clue how to "ride".

    Thanks again for the tips! :)